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Kenneth I MAC ALPIN, King of Scots and PiCounts[1]

Male Abt 810 - 859  (~ 49 years)

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  • Name Kenneth I MAC ALPIN 
    Suffix King of Scots and PiCounts 
    Born Abt 810  Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Name Kenneth mac Alpin  [2
    _AMTID 330126063673:1030:114017017 
    _UID 73D2FAA32C914AD2BB7C5960E2D3C54D720C 
    Died 6 Feb 859  Iona, Argyllshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Buried Iona, Argyllshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    • * REMARKS:
      1st King of Scots (or King of Alba)

      Kenneth was born about 800, the son of Alpin, king of Kintyre.Kenneth was king of the Picts and, according to national myth, firstking of Scots, earning him the posthumous epithet 'An Ferbasach' ('TheConqueror'). His undisputed legacy was to produce a dynasty of rulerswho claimed descent from him. Even though he cannot be regarded as thefather of Scotland, he was the founder of the dynasty which ruled thatcountry for much of the medieval period.

      Kenneth's origins are uncertain, as are his ties, if any, toprevious kings of the Picts of Dál Riata (the Gaelic over-kingdom on thewestern seaboard of Scotland with some territory on the northern coastsof Ireland). Medieval genealogies are unreliable sources, but somehistorians accept Kenneth's descent from the Cenél nGabrain of DálRiata.

      Although later traditions provided details of his reign and death,Kenneth's father Alpin is not listed as among the kings in the _DuanAlbanach_ (Song of the Scots), the Middle Gaelic poem found with the_Lebor Bretnach,_ a Gaelic version of the _Historia Brittonum_attributed to Nennius. The idea that Kenneth was a Gael is not entirelyrejected, but modern historiography distinguishes between Kenneth as aGael by culture, and perhaps in ancestry, and Kenneth as a king ofGaelic Dál Riata. Kenneth could well have been the first sort of Gael.Kings of the Picts before him, from Bridei, son of Der-Ilei, his brotherNechtan as well as Oengus I (Angus I), son of Fergus and his presumeddescendants, were all at least partly Gallicised. The idea that theGaelic names of Pictish kings in Irish annals represented translationsof Pictish ones was challenged by the discovery of the inscription_Custantin filius Fircus(sa),_ the latinised name of the Pictish kingCaustantin, son of Fergus, on the Dupplin Cross.

      Kenneth's rise to power can be placed in the context of the recentend of the previous dynasty, which had dominated Fortriu (an ancientPictish kingdom, often used synonymously with Pictland in general) fortwo or four generations. This followed the death of King Uen, son ofOengus of Fortriu, his brother Bran, Aed mac Boanta and many others inbattle against the Vikings in 839. The resulting succession crisisseems, if the Pictish Chronicle's king-lists have any validity, to haveresulted in at least four would-be kings warring for supreme power.

      Kenneth's reign is dated from 843, but it was probably not until848 that he defeated the last of his rivals for power. The _PictishChronicle_ claims that he was king in Dál Riata for two years beforebecoming Pictish king in 843, but this is not generally accepted. In849, Kenneth had relics of St. Columba, which may have included theMonymusk Reliquary, transferred from Iona to Dunkeld. Other than theseare bare facts, the _Chronicle of the Kings of Alba_ reports that heinvaded Saxonia six times, captured Melrose and burnt Dunbar, and alsothat Vikings laid waste to Pictland, reaching far into the interior.

      The reign of Kenneth also saw an increased degree of Norsesettlement in the outlying areas of modern Scotland. The Shetlands, theOrkneys, Caithness, Sutherland, the Western Isles and the Isle of Man,and part of Ross were settled; the links between Kenneth's kingdom andIreland were weakened, those with southern England and the continentalmost broken. In the face of this, Kenneth and his successors wereforced to consolidate their position in their kingdom, and the unionbetween the Picts and the Gaels, already progressing for severalcenturies, began to strengthen. By the time of Donald II, the kingswould be called neither of the Gaels nor of the Scots, but of Alba.

      Kenneth died from a tumour on 13 February 858 at the palace ofCinnbelachoir, perhaps near Scone. The annals report the death as thatof the 'king of the Picts', not the 'king of Alba'. The title 'king ofAlba' is not used until the time of Kenneth's grandsons Donald II(Domnall mac Causatin) and Constantine II (Constantin mac Aeda). TheFragmentary Annals of Ireland quote a verse lamenting Kenneth's death:Because Cináerd with many troops lives no longer there is weeping inevery house; there is no king of his worth under heaven as far as theborders of Rome.

      Kenneth left at least two sons, Constantine and Aed, who werelater kings, and at least two daughters. One daughter married Run, kingof Strathclyde, and Eochaid mac Run, king of the Picts, resulted fromthis marriage. Kenneth's daughter Máerl Muire married two importantIrish kings. Her first husband was Aed Finliath of the Cenél nEógain.Niall Glúndub, ancestor of the O'Neill, was the son of this marriage.Her second husband was Flann Sinna of Clann Cholmáin.

      FROM: P L Kessler , ...The History Files, HomePublishing A(c)1999, www.users.globalnet.co.uk\\_plk\\history.htm,Internet. 843 AD Kenneth rules from Scone (Fortriu, modern Forteviot),capital of the Southern Picts. 850 AD Kenneth rules Pictland andunites most of the country, a feat which is extended to cover allScotland by subsequent kings.

      succeeded his father as King of Galloway and other parts of Scotland on20 July or in August 834, and became King of the area known as Dalriadain 841. In 843/4, he became King of the Picts, thus uniting the oldGaelic kingdoms of Alba for the first time, and by 846 he was firmlyestablished as King of Scotland.
    Person ID I5297  Work in progress june2018
    Last Modified 2 Jan 2010 

    Father King Alpin, King of Kintyre,   b. Abt 778, Caledonia or Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. EITHER 20 Jul 0834 OR Aug 0834, fighting the Picts, Galloway, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 56 years) 
    Family ID F2919  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

     1. Constantine I,   b. Abt 840, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 877, Forgan, Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 37 years)
    Last Modified 30 Jun 2018 
    Family ID F2918  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart